Bob Russell: Sleepless in Westminster

by Stephen Tall on November 8, 2007

Congratulations to Lib Dem MP for Colchester – aka ‘Bingo’ Bob Russell – for breaking what is believed to be a Parliamentary record. For the sixth year running he has managed to table the first Commons motion of the new parliamentary year.

How has he achieved this feat? By spending 15 hours camped outside the office which deals with requests, accompanied only by a sleeping bag, sandwiches, biscuits and drinks.

The BBC website reports Bob saying:

“I did sleep, sort of dozed on and off… I know that the minute I ease up someone else will ease in, so I need to bag my place.” Mr Russell tabled seven early day motions in total, covering such diverse subjects as cystic fibrosis, road safety and the labelling of alcoholic drinks.

Such motions allow MPs to express their opinion and to canvass support by inviting other members to add their signatures in support. If backed by a lot of MPs they can be used to argue for a full debate on the issue in the Commons or to influence future policy.